As you might have gathered from reading the title, I have written this blog post as a means of informing you that the Boston Red Sox are in good shape. ”What’s that?” you derisively ask. “You’re suggesting that the Boston Red Sox, who are [INSERT ANY Of THE OPTIONS BELOW], are in good shape?”
- currently tied for last place in their division;
- managed by a man who will say anything to the media, except for “no comment;”
- embroiled in a media maelstrom;
- suffer from poor clubhouse chemistry;
- have been getting next to nothing production from Adrian Gonzalez;
- unable to rely on Josh Beckett; or
- only responsible for three victories in their last ten games.
“Yes, those Boston Red Sox,” I say in a fashion that’s meant to be both definite and shocking.
While the baseball talk at this time of year tends to devote itself to trade rumours and speculation, the Boston Red Sox are most likely to be left out of that conversation. While competing teams look to add the pieces that will most hopefully push them atop the heap and into the glorious and heavenly clouds of the post season, Boston need not worry about such matters, because their stretch run boost will come in the form of Disabled List returnees.
Over the weekend, Jacoby Ellsbury, the 9.4 fWAR center fielder from one year ago, made his return to the lineup after missing all but eight games this season. Tonight, Carl Crawford makes his season debut in left field (and batting second in the order!), and it won’t be too long until Andrew Bailey finds his way back to Boston’s bullpen. The team that was decimated by injuries in the early going is taking shape to hopefully become the contender that it was proposed to be at the beginning of the year.
So, while, yes, the team is currently tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for last place in the American League East, at 9.5 games behind the division leading New York Yankees, they’re only 1.5 games out of the Wild Card – let’s be honest – play-in game. Despite all the stories of clubhouse catastrophes, uncommitted players and a manager off his rocker, the team has weathered a harsher storm than any club in baseball.
To find themselves this close to playoff contention at this point in the season despite all the obstacles in their way is remarkable enough, but add in the fact that the roster is set to improve itself more than any other team’s in the coming weeks, and suddenly, opponents go from feeling pity for the Red Sox to feeling nothing but fear.
It’s a remarkable turn around.